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Middle Ages. Chapter 8.1-2. Pope Gregory the Great. Lombards attacking from North 600 AD: Invaders swept across Europe Towns emptied, trade stopped, learning ceased. Early Middle Ages. 500-1000 AD Europe relatively backward region Cut off from advanced civilizations in ME, China, India

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Middle ages

Middle Ages

Chapter 8.1-2

Pope gregory the great
Pope Gregory the Great

  • Lombards attacking from North

  • 600 AD: Invaders swept across Europe

  • Towns emptied, trade stopped, learning ceased

Early middle ages
Early Middle Ages

  • 500-1000 AD

  • Europe relatively backward region

  • Cut off from advanced civilizations in ME, China, India

  • Slowly, new Europe emerged

    • Greco-Roman, Germanic, Christian traditions

    • Called “medieval civilization” from Latin “middle age”


  • Europe: small continent

    • Huge impact on modern world

    • 500-1000: Frontier land- sparsely populated, undeveloped area on outskirts of civilization

    • Dense forests

    • Rich earth for farming

    • Mineral resources

    • Fishing

    • Rivers

Germanic kingdoms
Germanic Kingdoms

  • Farmers and herders

  • No cities, written laws

  • Lived in small communities

  • Unwritten customs

  • Elected kings who sent them into war

The franks
The Franks

  • 400-700

  • Germanic tribes carved W Europe into kingdoms

    • Strongest

  • Clovis conquered former Roman province of Gaul

  • Frankish customs

  • Converted to Christianity

Europe and muslims
Europe and Muslims

  • New power in Mediterranean

  • Religion of Islam

  • Arabia: 622 AD

  • Built huge empire

  • Overran Christian lands from Palestine to North Africa to Spain

  • Battle of Tours: 722

    • Christian Frankish warriors rallied to defend France

    • Won battle

  • Muslims source of anxiety- viewed with hostility

  • In time would learn from Muslims- their education exceeded Europeans


  • 800 AD

  • Grandson of Charles Martel

  • Built empire from France, Germany and part of Italy

  • AKA Charles the Great

  • Loved battle

    • Spent most of 46-year reign fighting

    • Muslims in Spain, Saxons in north, Avars and Slavs in east, Lombars in Italy

    • Reunited much of old Roman empire

Christian emperor
Christian Emperor

  • 800

  • Pope Leo III called for Charlemagne to help with rebellious nobles in Rome

  • Frankish armies crushed rebellion

  • Christmas day: pope showed gratitude by placing crown on Charlemagne’s head

    • Emperor of Romans

  • Significance: Christian pope crowned a German king successor to roman emperors

    • Laid groundwork for power struggle between Roman Catholic popes and German emperors

    • Outraged Eastern Roman emperor

    • Widened split between east and west

Spread of christianity
Spread of Christianity

  • Charlemagne worked with Church to spread Christianity to conquered people

  • Appointed powerful nobles to rule regions

  • Gave them land

  • Officials called missi dominici to check on rulers


  • Wanted “second Rome”

  • Revived Latin learning

  • Learning was in decline

  • Rare if a person could read or write

  • Charlemagne could only read, but not write

  • Need for keeping accurate records

  • School at Aachen

    • Curriculum- formal course of study

After charlemagne
After Charlemagne

  • Died 814

  • Empire fell apart

  • Heirs battled for power

  • 843: Treaty of Verdun- split empire into 3 regions

  • Legacy:

    • Extended Christian civilization

    • Blended German, Roman, Christian traditions

    • Strong efficient government

    • Became example for later rulers

More invasion
More Invasion

  • Muslims still posed threat

    • Conquered Sicily

    • 900: Struggle in Middle East refocused attention of Muslims

  • 896: Maygars settled Hungary

    • Overran E Europe , Germany, France and Italy

    • After 50 years, driven back to Hungary


  • Came from Scandinavia

  • 900s: looted and burned communities along coasts and rivers in Europe

  • Traders and explorers

  • Opened trade routes

  • 1000: Leif Erikson set up colony in N America

Middle ages

  • Count William inherited rich land of Flanders

  • Nobles gathered to pledge loyalty to new lord

  • Knelt before him and took an oath of loyalty

  • Count touched them with small rod

  • Granted noble a parcel of land including towns, castles and people

  • Ceremonies like this took place across Europe during Middle Ages

  • Vows were part of political and social system


  • People needed protection from invasion

  • New system evolved

  • Feudalism: loosely organized system of rule in which powerful local lords divided landholdings among lesser lords called vassals

  • Feudal Contract: Lord granted vassal a fief (estate)

    • Ranged from a few acres to hundreds of square miles

    • Included land, peasants to work the land, and any towns or buildings

    • Lord promised to protect vassal

    • Vassal promised to be loyal


  • Everyone had a place in feudal society

  • Monarch—powerful lords—dukes and counts—vassals—vassals—peasants

  • One man could be vassal and lord—vassal to a more powerful lord above him, and lord to a less powerful vassal below him

  • Some vassals had fiefs from more than one lord—could be problematic

    • To solve, often would have a liege lord-1st loyalty

World of nobles
World of Nobles

  • Warfare was way of life

  • Rival lords battled constantly

  • Nobles boys trained for future occupation as a knight—mounted warrior.


  • 7 years old: sent away to castle of father’s lord

    • Learned to:

      • ride and fight

      • keep armor and weapons in good condition

  • When training was finished, became a knight

  • Knelt before elder knight, bowed head

  • Knight struck young man with hand or flat side of sword and dubbed him a knight

  • Feudal warfare decreased in 1100s

  • Tournaments (mock battles) came into fashion

  • Lord would invite all knights from area to enter contests of fighting skill

  • As dangerous as real battles


  • Powerful lords fortified homes to withstand attack

  • Wooden tower, ringed by fence, surrounded by moat

  • Gradually became larger, grander

  • Wars centered on taking castles

  • Attackers would starve defenders or tunnel under walls


  • Active role in society

  • Lady of the manor took over husband’s duties

  • Supervised vassals, managed house, performed ag, medical tasks, sometimes went to war

  • Land passed to elder son

  • Daughters sent for training

    • Spinning, weaving, supervise servants, read and write


  • Knights adopted code of conduct

    • Called chivalry

    • Required bravery, loyalty, true to word

    • Fight fairly in war

      • No attacking until both sides had armor on

      • Release captured knight on his promise to pay his ransom

    • Women protected, cherished

    • Troubadours- wandering poets

      • Love songs praised women

      • Shaped Western ideas of romantic love


  • Manor: lord’s estate

  • Included one or more villages and surrounding lands

  • Peasants made up majority of pop, lived and worked on manor

  • Most were serfs:

    • Slaves that could not be bought and sold, but not free, couldn’t leave

  • Work: farming, repair roads, bridges, fences

  • Paid a fee to lord to marry, inherit acres or use mill

  • Payments due at Christmas, Easter

    • Grain, honey, eggs, chickens


  • Right to farm acres for themselves

  • Protection from warfare

  • Guaranteed food, housing, land

Self sufficient

  • Manor was self-sufficient

  • Peasants produced almost everything they needed

  • No schooling, knowledge of outside world

  • Harsh life, long hours

  • Black bread, vegetables (seldom ate meat)

    • Poached at risk of punishment

  • Family and any animals they had slept together

  • Disease took toll- few lived beyond 35

  • Celebrated festivals, marriages, dancing, sports